Heavy rains and tropical storm Nicholas could threaten the Gulf Coast

On Monday, Tropical Storm Nicholas moved up the Gulf Coast, threatening to bring heavy rainfall and floods to the coast areas of Texas and Mexico.

According to forecasters at Miami’s National Hurricane Center, Nicholas is strengthening and generating top winds of 60 mph (95 km/h) in an update at 1 a.m. CDT. The hurricane was moving north-northwest at approximately 15 mph (24 km/h), according to a forecast track. It will pass close to the South Texas coast on Monday night, and then continue onshore towards the coast of central or south Texas on Monday evening.

From Port Aransas, Texas to Freeport Texas, a hurricane watch was issued. A large portion of Texas’ coastline was placed under a tropical storm watch because the system was predicted to bring heavy rains that could cause flash flooding and urban flooding.

Expect rainfalls totaling up to 10 inches (25 cmimeters in Texas) and southwest Louisiana. There were isolated rainfall amounts of 20 inches (50 cmimeters), across parts of coastal Texas, from Sunday night through midweek.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated that the state has deployed rescue teams and resources to the Houston area as well as along the Texas Gulf Coast.

“This storm could cause heavy rains, wind, and possibly flooding in different areas along the Gulf Coast. In a video message, Abbot stated that he urges you to pay attention to weather warnings and to heed them.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state emergency in Louisiana ahead of Hurricane Ida’s arrival. This was in an area still recovering from Hurricane Laura last year and historic flooding.

“The southwest part of Louisiana is the most dangerous. This is where Hurricane Laura and May flooding are ongoing. Flash flooding and heavy rain are possible in this region. Edwards stated that it is possible for all of South Louisiana to experience heavy rains this week, even areas affected by Hurricane Ida.”

The storm was expected to bring the heaviest rainfall west of where Hurricane Ida slammed into Louisiana two weeks ago. While forecasters didn’t expect Louisiana to be hit by strong winds again this year, Bob Henson, a Yale Climate Connections meteorologist, predicted that rainfall could still affect areas where Hurricane Ida toppled homes, left paralysed electrical and water infrastructure, and left at most 26 people dead.

Henson stated in an email that “there could be several inches rain across southeast Louisiana where Ida struck.”

According to poweroutage.us, only over 100,000 Louisiana customers were without power on Monday morning.

According to Donald Jones, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Lake Charles (La.), the storm is expected to move slowly up the coastland and could drop torrential rains over several days.

He stated that flash flooding and heavy rain are the greatest threats to our region.

Lake Charles was spared the worst of Ida’s impact, but it did experience multiple floods from Hurricane Laura in 2020 and Hurricane Delta in 2020. This winter, Lake Charles also experienced historic flooding in this spring.

Nic Hunter, Lake Charles Mayor, stated that “we are still a very battered place.”

He stated that the city takes the threat of the storm as seriously as all tropical systems.

Hunter stated, “Hope and Prayer is not a good strategy.”

Scott Trahan, Cameron Parish resident in coastal Louisiana is currently finishing repairs to his home that was damaged by Hurricane Laura last year. His house sustained about 2 feet of water. He expects to have his home finished by Christmas. He stated that many people in his region have decided to move instead of rebuilding.

“If your stomach is whipped four times, you won’t be able to get up again.” Trahan stated, “You are going to go someplace else.”

Phil Klotzbach, a Colorado State University hurricane researcher, stated via Twitter that Nicholas was the 14th named hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Only four other years have seen 14 or more named hurricanes by Sept. 12, 1966: 2005, 2011, 2012, 2020.

TheEditor: